#1 Aurora Borealis
When darkness falls on the Arctic, everyone starts staring at the sky like nutballs, squabbling over which way the north is, because strands of green, yellow, purple and pink polar light are supposed to appear from that direction. And when they do appear and start glittering like some megalomaniac screensaver, all you need for the perfect night is a couch made of snow (we designed and decorated ours according to feng shui), a Thermos flask of mulled wine or plum brandy and warm waterproof clothing so that your ass should not suffer the consequences of excessive indulgence.
#2 Ice fishing
No matter if it’s morning, twilight or broad daylight, it’s equally useless. It’s utterly futile to be up with the crow and wake up at the crack of dawn. And if some jinx neighbour wishes you good luck with a smirk on his face, just remember the scene from the movie Who’s Singin’ Over There? ‘Tear the tyres, hahahahaha, tear, hahahaha!’ However, the ritual itself is a real blast and will do wonders for your biceps. All you need is an ice auger, a fishing rod, some worms or meat and a reindeer hide, ‘cause the butt always gets the short end of the stick if you fool around.
#3 ‘Watching’ moose and reindeer
Watching, to be honest, comes down to roaming the wilderness and following hoof prints in the snow and dung on the trail. But the heavy grunting sound is a real confidence booster that you’ll eventually stumble upon an actual reindeer. Just step into the tundra (it’s best to stick to the trails made by snowmobiles) and focus exclusively on call of these horned ungulates. You’ll also come across wooden hunting towers scattered here and there across the tundra, which is a sure sign that you’re not tripping out. The search for Rudolph will definitely take you a step further into the wilderness or the snow for that matter, because it can easily happen that you get caught up in the excitement of the moment, step off the trail following a piece of dung and end up in snow up to your waist. Walking is of no use in this case. Just swim through the snow until you reach the trail again. Fun is guaranteed! You can always see the moose and the reindeer at the Sami or the Lapps. We also learned how to call for them in the wild.
Crazy, bro, crazy! It’s cold as balls outside and you’re skipping trough the snow in your birthday suit, steaming worse that your mom’s Sunday soup. The process itself entails that you light the fire yourself, which will take about an hour or two, depending on the number of stoves and the size of the room. Just gradually throw water on the hot stones and thus raise the humidity. When the temperature reaches 80 ̊ or so, you’re ready to go! Time to get your clothes off! Just relax by sitting or lying on wooden benches. Drink lots of fluid and don’t forget to water the stones with the same fluid. It can be water, either plain or flavoured, or beer as in our case – the beer fills the air with an irresistible scent of wood. The basic rule entails 15-20 minutes of mating, followed by a shock therapy and ultimately 15-20 minutes of cooling down.
Then repeat the whole process for up to three or four times in a row. This shock therapy in the far North often entails taking a dip in the ice hole, which is slightly bigger than the one used for ice fishing. You simply have to try this and you shouldn’t worry that your heart will stop beating. Skipping through the snow or a naked snowball fight could serve as an adequate substitute. Basically, you can choose from whatever hits the spot. Your bloodstream, skin and muscles will benefit enormously.
#5 Nordic skiing
Why would you trudge through the snow when you can simply slide? If you’re a novice, you should know that it’s actually neither complicated nor difficult. You’ll break a sweat before you learn the ropes, but when you get the hang of it, it runs like clockwork. If you’re an experienced skier, you’ll have some trouble lifting the skies, because the sense of balance and the way of walking are a trifle different. However, after a few falls, you simply get used to it. Bring a Thermos flask, stray away from the group, dip into the snow and have a whale of a time. One sound definitely dominates the surroundings. We recorded it. Listen!
#6 Ice hotel
If you decide to spend the night at the Icehotel, you’ll feel like you’re sleeping in the Museum of Contemporary Art – just without heating, of course. Every room is individually themed – from jellyfish and moustache to ancient statues and elaborate geometric shapes. There’s also an Icebar, music and lights that stream across the ice-bound ceiling, chairs, tables and ice glasses – all in all, you’ll get a full experience. There’s also a church – supposedly to say a prayer to God that you wake up alive and kicking the next morning. We tried the beds too. Ice mattresses are indeed a bit hard, but reindeer hides they’re covered with are actually very soft and warm. You can visit all the rooms during the day, just to make sure if your neighbour’s doing better than you are. His room may be more elegantly furnished, but it certainly isn’t warmer. All things considered, this was quite an extraordinary experience.
#7 Be a musher for one day
A musher is a dog driver. To put it more clearly, a musher stands on a sled pulled by dogs. He has a break and that’s it as far as safety is concerned. All the strength and speed comes from the insatiable desire for running. Before you embark on the adventure, your ‘stallions’ will absolutely knock you off your feet. They cuddle and put their damp snouts in your hands and then they twist on their backs expecting you to give them a good scratch. Love at first sight! However, it is when they get carried away by the feeling of freedom that their innate urge for running prevails. Just muster up the courage and take the ‘wheel’. All you really need to do while you’re making your way through the tundra is use the break promptly and be really careful that some branch doesn’t whip you on the face. Enjoyment is guaranteed! We chose the night ride and we certainly didn’t regret it. And if you get so lucky as to see aurora borealis, then we can say with absolute certainty that there are few experiences in the world that can beat that!
#8 Ice caves
The Arctic glaciers have created numerous ice caves that you can enter safely. Whether you decide to examine them on foot, by riding a dog sled or clambering down the ice holes with climbing ropes, you’ll see ice and rock formations that are absolutely beyond imagination. This is the only place in the world where you can get into the very heart of the glacier. However, if you’re claustrophobic, this way of fun may not prove to be your cup of tea. If you freak out every time you have to get into the elevator, stay on the surface. Anyway, it’s just snow.
Would you believe that all this is possible to experience for few hundreds of euros. How? Where? We will explain in blog post yet to come.